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Posts Tagged ‘Taidala Anjaiah’

Night dreams

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

We ridicule daydreams

but do even night dreams come true?

For our folks who go to Bombay,

to change life

to learn life,

I have been writing letters since I learnt letters

but I have never been able to write

them in line with my dreams.

The preaching of caution

to the son, who squandered wages,

getting on the bus,

the sorrow of mothers

weeping behind kongus*,

the travails of hunger

and the persistence of debts,

sisters' questions-

'did the rakhi reach my brother?',

the appeals of brothers

to send small chappals

through someone returning

and many more

became the letters I wrote.

They stil do.

Changing life

is not as simple as inviting colours into your sleep during the night

and dreaming–

whether you dream intentionally or otherwise,

do dreams ever come true?

More than dreaming,

I comfort myself

that at least the writing I am capable of

is performing the role of an emissary

through letters.


My translation of Taidala Anjaiah's Telugu poem 'rAtri kalalu' (from his collection of poetry 'punaasa').


* kongu: the free end of the sari, the pallu.

Our hut

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

When our hut burnt down

we felt as sad as if someone had died in our home,

So many memories dissolved in the fire!


It was in that hut that I had saved 25 paisa coins in the match box

to pay for tomorrow's dreams,

It was in that hut

that I had played with the flute bought in the Jatara,

It was in that hut

that my printed shirt, which I used to wear

only for festivals, burnt down

my wooden bull is still playing

in my heart.


When the hut burned down my Avva*

felt as sad as if her stomach was on fire,

her tree-sized son had dissolved in the trees,

because she couldn't blame the living

she remembered the dead and wept.


My father felt as sad as if a wolf had snatched a lamb,

As pained as finding an unknown corpse in the hills,

Everything burnt down when our hut burnt down!

The match box in which I hid coins,

The flute bought in the Jatara,

The printed shirt worn only on festivals,

The toy bull I played with:

All these burnt down

and are still chasing me;

I who have saved only pen and paper,

what should become of me now?

I will keep writing lessons

for those who light chuttas**

when huts burn down.


My translation of Taidala Anjaiah's Telugu poem 'maa guDise' (from his collection of poetry 'punaasa').

* avva: grandmother.

* chutta: pronounced cuTTa. cheroot or coarsely prepared cigar.

Indian Heritage

Monday, April 12th, 2010

My grandfather,

the starvation death

which occurred during the drought when men were sold

My father,

the migrant life

which left home in search of work to pay off debt

I, in ragged shirt and shorts,

the salute to the flag hoisted in school.


– My translation of the Telugu poem 'Indian Heritage' by Taidala Anjaiah (from his collection 'PunAsa').

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